Why do you do it? Is it just something to “fill your free time”? Is it a way to ‘make some extra money”? Or, is it SOOO MUCH more!!!
As you have probably already guessed, The Correct Answer (and yes, there is one) should be the last choice! Beadwork is So MUCH MORE than $$ or a time filler.
Beadwork is about creating. I believe in a supreme being. A Creator God! I believe I was made in His/Her image (you pick– I don’t care). And as such, I am creative. You can create in a lot of ways,but for me, it is with my hands! Beadwork is one of those outlets. I Bead because I HAVE TO!!
I HAVE to CREATE! Every Day! When I create, I become closer to my Creator. I understand Creator better. And I take time to listen to Creator’s messages. I also talk to Creator while I bead. I Need THIS Time.
So, why did I start beading? 15+ years ago, I started beading because I was in love with all the beadwork that I saw. I loved the bright colors, the intricate patterns and I wanted to know how it happened.
I bought pattern after pattern after pattern. I spent more money than I should have on beads and lessons…but I did it for myself and my family.
Then, one day…. someone said those awful words to me. The told me my work was beautiful and I should “start selling it!” I really wish I had not listened. It was like putting a frog into a pot of cold water on a stove then adding heat. Normally a frog would jump out of a pot of hot water, and if I had known then, what I know now, I would have too. But if the heat is gradually raised, the frog adapts, and so did I .
In the beginning, sales went well, I had a friend who invited me to vend with them. They would not take any money for the space I used, and all my ‘creations’ fit into two small suitcases. It was easy and a little extra cash to buy more beads and learn new techniques.
As time went on, I decided to turn up the heat a bit and strike out on my own. Now, I had to provide my own tent, table, table cloths, storage boxes for inventory, a truck to carry it all in…. And pay my own vending fees. Weather became an issue. If it was bad, people would not come out, and my vending fee was non-refundable. Costs keep going up.
Then, the economy went bad. Sales have been declining for the past two years. On the average 10-20% per year. And vending fees are rising. (after all, pow-wows have to cover their increasing costs too). And my stress level rose!!!
I was losing my love for beading as it became a business. If I had 3 or 4 varieties of an item on the table… people always wanted the one thing I did not have. I personally think it was their way of politely saying “I just don’t have the money right now.” But I was left feeling link I had to make more and more. I did! And it SAT!!!
Thru no fault of my own, my vending tent has become what I affectionately call “A Walk-Thru Pintrest”. Most people come thru to get ideas for “what they can make at home”. They would rather go home and spend $92 on supplies to make it themselves and try to sell it, than pay me a fair price and have it to enjoy.
To those people, I say….Just because I am asking a certain price for an item, does not mean I will get it. It might sit for a year or more until it finally finds a home. The cost of packing, unpacking, and transporting that item from place to place will never be reflected in the price I get for it. And If YOU (meaning Customers) are not buying from me…. What makes you think people will buy from you? Just food for thought.
Well, I have gone a long way from my original questions, I know. But, I have always tried to lead by example and I wanted to share this with you.
Beadwork is NOT about $$$$. Beadwork is about adding beauty to the world! It is about spending time with CREATOR. Prayer & Meditation, and providing for your family. I am getting back to that in my life. And I hope you will too.
My vending business is all but closed now. My online shop is still there, and I do take custom orders. (what a creative thrill that can be!!!!) And now, I am teaching. I am sharing my love for beading with others. I use the money I make to buy beads, create new classes, and bless others with …. well, lots of creative stuff. (Friend me and you’ll see the fun stuff I get into)
I DO NOT teach so that others can “make extra money”. I know that some will come along and try. They will be willing, at first to take any small amount that a customer offers for their hard work. They will think they are making money, but they are really giving themselves away. (I could say sooo much here,)
I would love it if beadwork could fill your free time with meditation and prayer and time with Creator. That would be my dream.